Regenerator, 2011, colour pencil, ink and acrylic on paper,
59 x 41.7 cm
|the path of least resistance
Opening: Saturday, March 26, 2011, 6:00 pm
March 29 - May 7, 2011
Tuesday - Saturday 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
|Heiko Blankenstein’s fourth solo exhibition at Galerie Alexandra Saheb presents the full complexity of this artist’s work. Along side his finely detailed drawings and light boxes, this exhibition is the first to feature Blankenstein’s woodcuts.
The extent to which the artist’s precise drawings on paper or engraved into the black paint of the light-box works are able to sustain the viewer’s attention is already well known. The artist has now applied the same technical rigour and meticulousness to wood, a material that has already appeared frequently in his works as a motif.
The result is two prints whose elaborateness and delicacy seem to contradict, or tame, the material they are cut from. Through his use of materials and the choice of imagery, Blankenstein sounds the basic qualities of things, while simultaneously subjecting them to a transformation.
His three-dimensional works can be seen as an extension of his graphic work. The sculptures, whose surfaces have been delicately drawn on, are frequently derived from existing two-dimensional works, resulting in a new and exciting discrepancy between real and illusionistic space.
The artist confronts the viewer with images of nature that reveal a polarity between a pure experience of nature and nature as an energy resource. At a deeper level, the resulting bizarre and fictitious landscapes, which are often populated by mutating apparitions, speak of a “crisis”, a destruction and exploitation of the natural world.
Blankenstein’s nature-constructs make use of both the unreal/fictional and the natural/real. The play between and with both these levels provides viewers with only a brief moment to find their bearings before they are able to orient themselves anew.
Although the precise geometry of the central perspective in the representations of architecture and nature makes the viewer feel as if he/she were being drawn directly into Blankenstein’s apparently seamless fictional worlds, unsettling elements such as perspectival distortions and the de-contextualisation of the motifs gives the viewer a certain reflective distance.
His works are further characterised by a tension between fragmented or omitted elements and the highly developed pictorial space.
Heiko Blankenstein challenges himself by seeking to overcome, or even outdo, his materials. The motifs he chooses to achieve this – extreme landscapes, architecture and characters – is perhaps the first ascension of the summit with a ballpoint pen.